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Smoking rules: Fall in line or face music, govt tells violators


Does your restauranteatery have a dedicated smoking zone? Can you still be spotted smoking in public? If yes, it’s time to fall in line with the law. For the government has stepped up its drive against those violating the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA).

On Monday, Bengaluru development minister K J George launched a new initiative called the Smoke Free City. This is part of Bengaluru’s involvement in Partnership for Healthy Cities, an initiative led by WHO global ambassador for non-communicable disease (NCD), Michael R Bloomberg.

Between January and September this year, police have registered 26,000 FIRs against COTPA violators and collected Rs 35 lakh as penalty from individuals smoking in public places and eateries and restaurants allowing open smoking in violation of the law.

Bengaluru is among 50 global cities, which includes Ahmedabad and Mumbai, to undertake the Smoke Free City project that aims at strengthening implementation of NCD policy in the state with a focus on reducing exposure to second hand smoking (SHS) or passive smoking.

The minister said: “Bengaluru is home to 14% of Karnataka’s population. Becoming a smoke-free city will protect the health of a large number of people. Currently , some restaurants and eateries aren’t compliant with COTPA rules. These restaurants will be brought under stringent norms.”

“Karnataka police have been effectively implementing COTPA over the past few years. Bengaluru police alone penalized over 65,000 people in these years, collecting over Rs 1 crore in fine.This initiative will help strengthen public health by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke,” said T Sunil Kumar, commissioner of police.

An effective task force, involving all stakeholders, has been formed to properly implement COTPA in the city. Dr U Vishal Rao US, an oncologist and member of Tobacco Control, a high-powered committee, said: “An NCD taskforce was created two months ago with an appointed nodal officer, doctors, police, BBMP officials.”

“From putting up `No Smoking’ signages at public spaces to sending prior notice to pubs, eateries and restaurants about COTPA rules and penalizing violators, the taskforce will ensure our city tops the list of 50 chosen cities under this initiative,” he added.
Source: Times of India

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